Paul Simpson has created an annotated bibliography for those interested in non-representational theory, which is up on Oxford Bibliographies and is definitely worth checking out:
- Paul Simpson
Non-representational theory refers to a diverse body of work that emerged during the mid- to late 1990s in the United Kingdom as an alternative approach to the conception, practice, and production of geographic knowledge. Initially proposed by Nigel Thrift in a series of calls during that time, non-representational theory has sought to reorientate geographic analyses beyond a perceived overemphasis on representations (in a variety of forms), and a form of representationalism (whereby meaning is something formed in the mind and that acts as a precondition for action), toward an emphasis on practice, embodiment, materiality, and process. This call has been taken up by a range of geographers and has evolved in multiple, at times potentially conflicting, directions. This highlights a key feature of non-representational theory. It is not, in fact, a singular theory. Rather, non-representational theory marks a disposition based upon a range of styles of thinking that value practice and the processual. It is more easily understood in the plural–in terms of “non-representational theories.” Furthermore, the usefulness of the word non-representational has been questioned, both in critiques of this work and in responses to them. While this “non” suggests dispatching with concerns for representations in general, something many geographers have been troubled by, it is intended more to reflect a different approach to their consideration: a movement away from a focus on the interpretation of their meaning toward a consideration of what they “do” in the unfolding of the social world. The reception of non-representational theory in geography has been mixed. It is evident that a range of work has been inspired on the subject, particularly in terms of certain off-shoots, such as work on affect and materiality. It is clear also that non-representational theory has challenged geographers and encouraged reflection on the epistemological boundaries of the discipline. That said, it is clear also that it has led to the reassertion of certain core concerns for geography and critiques of non-representational theory’s potential devaluation of them. In light of such concerns and debates, non-representational theory has also come to be known by the alternative moniker of “more-than representational theory.” This title has sought to take a “softer” approach to the confrontational edge of the “non” and to suggest that the ideas proposed by non-representational theories can act as an animating supplement to existing approaches to geographic knowledge production.
Read the whole thing here.
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